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Reign of Edward VI page 11

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Heath, Bishop of Worcester, and Day, Bishop of Chichester, were also committed to the Tower for refusing compliance with the new regulations. They had both refused to exchange the ancient altar for a communion table, a substitution now introduced, and which afforded the Crown and courtiers a fresh harvest of spoil in jewels, plate, and decorations. It was in vain that the Council attempted to move them by argument; they were, therefore, committed to prison; and, in October of 1551, were deprived of their sees, and retained in the Tower till the next reign.

From the bishops, the reforming Council proceeded to higher game, The Princess Mary, the king's eldest sister, from the first had expressed her firm resolution of not adopting the new faith or ritual. She had, moreover, declared to Somerset, that during the minority of the king things ought to remain as the king her father had left them. Somerset replied that, on the contrary, he was only carrying out the plans which Henry had already settled in his own mind, but had not had time to complete. On the introduction of the new liturgy, she received, in June, 1549, an intimation that she must conform to the provisions of the statute. Mary replied with spirit, that her conscience would not permit her to lay aside the practice of the religion that she believed in, and reminded the lords of the Council that they were bound by their oaths to maintain the Church as left by her father; adding, that they could not, with any decency, refuse liberty of worship to the daughter of the king who had raised them to what they were.

The appeal to the liberality, the consciences, or the gratitude of these statesmen producing no effect, she next applied to a more influential person, the Emperor Charles Y., her great relative. This was at the time that the English Government was soliciting Charles to take Boulogne off their hands, and what they would not yield to any higher feelings they conceded to policy. The permission was granted her to have her own chapel in her own house. No sooner, however, was the peace with France concluded, than caring less for the emperor, who had refused to oblige them in the matter of Boulogne, the Council began to harass her with their importunities, and by means of letters from her brother.

Warwick and his party, when they were seeking to crush Somerset, wrote a letter to the princesses each in her own person, which, however, was especially addressed to Mary, in which they hint at her being next in succession to the throne, as if they were ready to adopt her creed and place her there. Without speaking too distinctly on this head, they, however, entreated her to join them on that occasion. "We trust your grace," they say, "in our just and faithful quarrel, will stand with us, and thus shall we pray to Almighty God for the preservation of your grace's health." No sooner, however, were Dudley and his clique in power, than they became as troublesome to her as Somerset and his party had been. The young king was put forward as the party pressing for her conformity, and he maintained that he possessed as great authority in religious matters as his father, and that his love to God and to her compelled him to urge this matter upon her. He offered to send her teachers who should instruct her in the reformed faith, and show her clearly her errors. It was in vain that she pleaded and remonstrated; it was told her that the indulgence granted her had been only for a limited period. Again she appealed to the emperor, and again his ambassador, on the 19th of April, 1550, demanded of the Privy Council that this liberty should be continued to her. Edward in his journal says this was refused, but this must have been in equivocal language, for the ambassador reported that the permission had been granted.

These persecutions continued through the whole of this year and the greater part of next, during which time there were some overtures of marriage, which, if closed with, might have rescued her from her irksome situation, The Duke of Brunswick and the Margrave of

Brandenburg were amongst her suitors, but could not have been acceptable to Mary on account of their religion. She decided in favour of Don, Louis, the Infant of Portugal, a match which was never concluded. The endeavours to coerce Mary in her faith being continued, the emperor seems to have formed the plan of her escape from the kingdom. She was residing at Newhall, near the mouth of the Blackwater in Essex, and when Edward positively forbade the princess to have mass performed in her chapel, the emperor sent some ships to hover on the coast, to receive Mary on board, and carry her over to Antwerp. The Council was alarmed, and Sir John Gates was sent to cruise off that shore and prevent any such attempt. To draw the princess from the dangerous vicinity to the coast, the Council took advantage of an illness which she had in November, 1550, to represent to her that Essex was too low for her health. Mary thanked the Council, and said that it was the season not the situation which affected her, but that if she should "espy any house meet for her purpose," in any other neighbourhood, she would not fail to ask for it. This being construed into a refusal, in December indictments under the statute were found against two of her chaplains, and at the invitation of her brother, Mary consented to meet the Lords of the Council in person for the discussion of the subject.

This meeting took place at Westminster on the 18th of March, 1551. Mary was grooving every day more decisive in her demonstrations of her faith - the certain consequence of all this persecution. She, therefore, rode over from Wanstead, where she had a house, attended by a numerous cavalcade of ladies and gentlemen, and every one of her attendants wore a black rosary and cross at the girdle - an obvious proof that she meant no surrender. She passed two hours closeted with the king and his Council, the upshot of which was, that she declared that "her soul was God's, and that she would neither change her faith nor dissemble her opinion." To which it was replied, with very little show of truth, however, "that the king did not constrain her faith, but insisted that she should obey like a subject, and not will like a sovereign."

The very next day the emperor's ambassador declared that if his master's kinswoman were any further molested on account of her religion, he would quit the country, preparatory to a declaration of war. This had effect at tile time, for the ministers were obliged to admit to the king that war with the Low Countries at this crisis would be the ruin of England. Edward is said to have wept at being' thus checked in the hopeless attempt to convert his sister. The forbearance did not last long: her chief chaplain, Francis Mallet, was arrested and consigned to the Tower. Mary remonstrated; but the only effect was, that in the following August, whilst she was living at Copthall, in Essex, an extraordinary attempt was made to control the exercise of her domestic worship, through the means of the officers of her own establishment. Mr. Robert Rochester, the comptroller of her household, Mr. Walgrave, and Sir Francis Inglefield, her chief officers, were sent for by the king and Council, and commanded under severe menaces to put a stop to the performance of mass in her house; and if she should discharge them from her service on this account, they were still to remain, and enforce the Royal orders.

Mary refused to pay any attention to the orders brought by these gentlemen. She herself wrote to the Council, assuring them that they could do what they pleased with her body, but that death would be more welcome than life with a troubled conscience. The Council then ordered Inglefield, Rochester, and Walgrave to return and carry out their Royal commands. But they positively refused, declaring that they might send them to prison if they pleased, but that as to facing their mistress on any such errand, they would not. Rochester, therefore, was committed to the Fleet prison,' and afterwards to the Tower, and a deputation of the Council were themselves dispatched to enforce this object. These deputies were Lord Chancellor Rich, Sir Anthony Wingfield, and Mr. Petre. They also carried with them a gentleman to officiate as comptroller in the place of the contumacious Rochester.

The commissioners did not succeed with Mary better than her own servants. She read the letter of the king which they brought, ordering implicit obedience, and said, "Ah! good Mr. Cecil took much pains here;" and she added, seriously, "Bather than use any other service than was used at the death of the late king my father, I will lay my head on a block and suffer death. When the king's majesty shall come to such years that he may be able to judge these things himself, his majesty shall find me ready to obey his orders in religion; but now, though he, good sweet king, have more knowledge than any other of his years, yet it is not possible that he can be a judge of these things. If my chaplains do say no mass, I can hear none. They may do therein as they will; but none of your new service shall be used in my house, or I will not tarry in it."

The commissioners, at their wits' end, complained of the conduct of her own officers, who had been ordered to put down the performance of her mass; on which she replied, sarcastically, that it was none of the wisest of all Councils that sent her own servants to control her in her own house, for she was not very likely to obey those who had been always used to obey her. They then commented on the emperor's interference, on which she reminded them that the emperor had their promise that they should not do the very thing they were now doing; and added that they owed her more respect for her father's sake, who, she said, had made most of them out of nothing. On this she left them; but as they were passing through the court-yard she opened a little window, and, with more spirit and stinging wit than dignity, spoke to them. Disliking this very public address, they desired to return into the house; bat she insisted on telling them there what she had to say, bidding them desire the Lords of the Council to return her the comptroller, Rochester. "For," she continued, "since his departing I take the accounts myself, and lo! I have learned how many loaves of bread be made out of a bushel of wheat. I wis my father and mother never brought me up to brewing and baking, and to be plain with you, I am a-weary of mine office. If my lords will send mine officer home again, they shall do me a pleasure; otherwise, if they send him to prison, beshrew me if he go not to it merrily, and with a good will. And I pray God send you well in your souls, and in your bodies too, for some of you have but weak ones."

Mary remained a conscious victor over her tormentors; she stood on vantage ground which none of them dared assail by any violence: but their proceedings were more deadly with less-favoured persons, and their zeal was directed not so much against the Romanists, who maintained some caution, as against Protestants who proceeded to what the new Church deemed heresy. First amongst these were Champnies, a priest, who denied the divinity of Christ, that grace was inadmissible, and that the regenerate, though they might fall in the outward, could never sin in the innerward man. Besides him, Puttow, a tanner, Thumb, a butcher, and Ashton, a priest, who had embraced Unitarianism, were terrified into submission, and bore their fagots during the sermon! at St. Paul's Cross.

But not so pliable was Joan Bocher, a lady of Kent, who had adopted the reformed opinions, and became a zealous promulgate of them. During the last reign, and in the time of Catherine Parr, she had frequently resorted to the Court, and secretly introduced there Protestant books and writings. She was a friend and fellow-labourer with the noble martyr, Anne Askew. Being now called before Cranmer, Smith, Cook, Latimer, and Lyall, and charged with certain heretical notions regarding the incarnation, she stood steadfast to her opinions, and when they threatened to send her to the stake, she daringly replied, "It is a goodly matter to consider your ignorance. It was not long ago that you burnt Anne Askew for a piece of bread, and yet came yourselves soon afterwards to believe and profess the same doctrine for which you burned her. And now, forsooth, you will needs burn me for a piece of flesh, and in the end will come to believe this also, when you have read the Scriptures and understand them."

Edward was excessively averse to signing her death warrant. From this reluctance in the young king, she remained in prison for a whole year. He contended that it was an awful thing to put a person to death in her sin, as that would consign the soul to eternal punishment. The mild Cranmer combated this argument with the example of Moses, who caused sinners to be stoned to death; and at length the unhappy boy, drowned in tears, put his hand to the warrant. He told Cranmer that if he were doing wrong, he must answer it to God, for that he did it in submission to his authority. Cranmer seems to have been rendered rather uneasy by this observation, and both he and Ridley laboured with her, to induce her to recant, and escape the flames as ethers had done. It was all in vain; she stood firm as a rock, and was sent to the stake. There a preacher, Dr. Scory, undertook to refute her, but she treated him with the utmost scorn, exclaiming that "he lied like a rogue, and had better go home and study the Scriptures."

Another victim was a Dutchman of the name of Van Paris, who practised as a surgeon in London. He had imbibed Unitarian tenets, and on that account was excommunicated by the Dutch Church in that city. He was arraigned before Cranmer, Ridley, May, Coverdale, and others. He refused to abjure his creed, and was, therefore, condemned by Cranmer, and burnt on the 24th of April, enduring his sentence with stoical fortitude. These persecutions covered Cranmer and the reformed prelates and clergy with odium, and diminished greatly the public commiseration when their own turn came to suffer the same death.

With a singular inconsistence, whilst thus burning these individuals at the stake, a host of foreign divines and preachers were not only tolerated but patronised by Cranmer and his clerical coadjutors, though they held a variety of unorthodox opinions. French, Italian, German, Swiss, Polish, and Scotch reformers, of differing creeds, and many of them promulgating the most decided Calvinism, were received by the primate, and even furnished with a sojourn under his own roof. He procured for them livings in the Church, and favour at Court, believing them to be efficient ministers of the reforms and opinions that he wished to establish. Amongst these the great Scottish reformer, John Knox, was appointed chaplain to the king, and itinerant preacher; throughout the kingdom; and many foreigners lectured at the Universities.

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